An Encounter With an “I” Man

I didn’t intend to have one. I sat down with a cup of dark roast in a secluded corner of my favourite coffee shop. No sooner had I opened the sports section of the paper than a young lady and her male companion, both probably in their early 20’s, ┬ásat down not less than three feet away.

The interaction that followed had about the same relationship to a conversation as a drive-by shooting has to dancing. The young man started droning and simply never stopped. What really started to drill into my head was the constant staccato first-person reference. He must have set some kind of world record for the use of the columnar pronoun.

Much as I tried to avoid it, I couldn’t help but get the drift of his monologue. It was singularly and unilaterally “about him” all the way, but some of the subject matter touched on the truly bizarre. He seemed anxious to impress the little lady with “facts” like what a routine event it was in his life to sustain concussions. The way he talked, you’d have thought he got one or two a week. His “prescription” for dealing with a concussion? Well, drugs and alcohol, of course (what else?).

As he prattled on, I was surprised to see the young lady totally in thrall to this blithering knucklehead, despite the fact he never engaged her in anything resembling dialogue. (The closest he came was comparing some gloves he’d gotten to the “really nice ones” he’d bought for her.)

There’s a certain “all about you”-ness to modern culture these days. But I’d never seen a more blatant example. Maybe nonchalant narcissism is considered fashionable in the same way jean-top muffins gained acceptance. I only hope the young lady comes to her senses before she ends up a permanent audience for this modern incarnation of Narcissus.

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